Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Monday, October 02, 2006

Extra-biblical Sources: II Chronicles 26 with poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

Daily Readings
Sirach 21, II Kings 15, II Chronicles 26, Jeremiah 34

Daily Text: II Chronicles 26

Extra-biblical Sources
Fifty-two years is a long time to reign, even though twenty of those years may have been as co-regent with his father, Amaziah, and ten years with his son, Jotham. Archaeological finds corroborate strong progress in agricultural development including cisterns and well-developed drainage channels [525:152]. Like his grandfather Joash, Uzziah chooses as mentor one Zechariah and from him learns the fear of the LORD. Could this have been the son of one of Jehoiada or Zechariah’s descendants? In his early years, Uzziah was a strong and good king, though at the height of his powers the Chronicler notes that pride becomes the source of his downfall. Generally, that seems to be an attempt on his part to take on the role of priest as well as king. Coming up against a strong high priest, who was not afraid to confront him with strength (he brought in 80 other priests of valor to back him up), Uzziah quickly faltered. At first he resisted Azariah, but his forehead broke out in some telltale skin disease when he did and the priest immediately gained the psychological advantage necessary to both get him out of the temple and into a house that curtailed his freedom for the rest of his life. His son Jotham, for all practical purposes, took over the reins of government.

II Chronicles 26 is perhaps the best evidence in Scripture for the existence of written records at the hands of known prophets—Isaiah is named in verse 22. These sources were undoubtedly the ones used by the Chronicler whenever he departed from the record of the Book of the Kings. Through the use of these extra-biblical sources he becomes an invaluable additional resource for our knowledge of the times.

Ozymandias
Percy Bysshe Shelley
1792-1822

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that the sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear—
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
407:982

Collect for the Day
And give me, good Lord, an humble, lowly, quiet, peaceable, patient, charitable, kind and filial and tender mind, every shade, in fact, of charity, with all my words and all my works, and all my thoughts, to have a taste of thy holy blessed Spirit.

[286:123:411 St. Thomas More, 1478-1535]

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